2015: Best year for students and teachers in decades

Sen. Bruce Dammeier, vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee answers the question, “What have lawmakers done for students this year?”

Senate education budget facts:

  • Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history.
  • 47 percent of the budget dedicated to K-12 education — a share not seen since the 1980s.
  • New spending 4:1 for education (Senate budget v2.0)
    • Follows 30 years when education was put behind growth in non-education spending by a 2:1 margin over education.
  • Bipartisan efforts invest in all-day kindergarten, reduces class size in kindergarten through 3rd grade and fully funds maintenance supplies and operation costs.
  • $2.7 billion total proposed spending increase for K-12 education, up from $15.3 billion in 2013-15 to $18 billion in 2015-17 – an 18% increase.
  • $440 million in additional teacher pay and benefits; $230 million for voter-approved teacher COLAs and $210 million for pension benefits.
  • Builds over 2,100 classrooms to lower class size for K-3 grades
  • Additional $1.3 billion toward basic education addressing the McCleary court decision.
  • Per-pupil funding will see an overall 33% increase.
  • This represents a fundamental shift in priorities not seen in 30 years since the Majority Coalition Caucus started governing in the Senate in 2013.

Education Funding Facts:

Year K-12 Funding Changes COLA?
2009-11 $340 million CUT No
2011-13 $652 million (below maintenance level) No
2013-15 $1.6 billion increase No
2015-17 (proposed) $2.7 billion increase Yes